In 1968, sporting a vibrant blue and orange livery to reflect its dynamic spirit, Gulf Oil, one of the original titans that made up petroleum’s “Seven Sisters”, more formally known as the Consortium for Iran, marked its successful partnership with the John Wyer Automative team and its first big break into motorsport with the iconic Ford GT 40 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Since its first victory in the endurance race, orange and blue have remained Gulf’s primary racing colours and are one of the most recognised motorsport liveries of all time. Gulf would go on to become the first lubricant company to officially trademark its racing colours.
In the following year, TAG Heuer took the world by storm with the launch of the Monaco, the first square and water-resistant automatic chronograph in the history of Swiss watchmaking. The watch was a break from the aesthetic codes of traditional watchmaking with its large square case with straight angles, metallic blue dial, domed Plexiglas crystal and the crown, in particular, positioned on the left, signifying that the watch was wound automatically.
TAG Heuer and Gulf would later cross path in Hollywood, in the 1971 film Le Mans, a fictional depiction of the 24 Hours of Le Mans , starring screen legend Steve McQueen. For his portrayal as car-racer Michael Delaney, the star insisted on wearing the Monaco throughout the film, as well as driving the famous Gulf-Porsche 917k sporting the Gulf logo and the company’s signature colours.
Today, TAG Heuer, a partner of Gulf , is revisiting the oil company’s first win at Le Mans 50 years ago to celebrate the auspicious anniversary by launching two flagship models bearing the legendary orange and blue of Gulf – the Formula 1 Gulf Special Edition and a 50-piece limited edition of the Monaco Gulf.
FORMULA 1 GULF SPECIAL EDITION
TAG Heuer Formula 1 is the ultimate automotive model, synonymous with performance and speed. Made of steel and measuring 43mm in diameter, this quartz chronograph features a notched steel bezel and an aluminium ring with a tachymeter scale. On the dial, one blue stripe and one orange stripe recall the model’s origins. The case-back is engraved with the Gulf logo. The movement is accurate to a tenth of a second – an indispensable feature in a motor racing watch – displayed on the small counter at 6 o’clock, with the minute counter at 9 o’clock and the current seconds counter at 3 o’clock. This model features a finely-crafted blue leather strap with orange stitching for a sporty, stylish look.
MONACO GULF 50th ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION
In honour of the 50th anniversary of Gulf’s first victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, TAG Heuer has launched a 50-piece special limited edition of the Monaco Gulf. The watch with the famous 39mm square case and petroleum blue dial with a chronograph minute counter at 9 o’clock and a seconds counter at 3 also bears the instantly recognisable signature colours of Gulf – blue and orange. Featured on the back of the watch is the Gulf’s anniversary emblem and the individual serial number XX/50. The piece is completed with a lack perforated calfskin strap with orange stitching and lining.
As a prelude to the celebrations in the days leading up to the race, TAG Heuer invited a number of guests to Monaco for an exclusive cocktail party among the Private Car Collection of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. The event was attended by brand ambassador, actor, filmmaker and avid racer Patrick Dempsey; honorary chairman of TAG Heuer, Jack Heuer; and Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, accompanied by her children, Pauline and Louis Ducruet; and Camille Gottlieb. Also in attendance were Sanjay Hinduja of Gulf Oil and Roald Goethe, owner of the ROFGO Collection. Guests were given the opportunity to visit the Circuit du Var in Le Luc and to get in a replica of the legendary Ford GT 40 that first took victory 50 years ago.